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Conservation benefit: Protection of 1,038 acres of rare coastal forest; reintroduction of 3,000 critically endangered palms

Community benefit: Environmental education in two village schools; construction of a permanent research monitoring station, kitchen, and guardhouse

Date Approved: 01.2010


This project protects forest, preventing the release of greenhouse gases and reducing erosion that damages coastal and ocean ecosystems.

Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, contains some of the planet’s most threatened ecosystems. Approximately 80% of Madagascar’s plants and animals occur nowhere else in the world. Unfortunately, more than 90% of Madagascar’s original forest cover has been lost since people migrated to the island a few thousand years ago.

In 2005, the nonprofit organization Azafady, now called SEED Madagascar, successfully completed a Seacology funded-project. So the community could monitor a rare littoral forest, they built tree nurseries, and camps for workers and volunteers.

The organization’s main environmental program, called Project Voly Hazo (“planting trees”), involves planting two critically endangered endemic palm species (Dypsis saintelucei and Beccariophoenix madagascariensis). With Seacology’s support, the organization will grow plants in nurseries and plant them in the 1,038-acre S17 coastal forest fragment. The group will also conduct environmental education programs related to the project in several local schools. To facilitate long-term monitoring, they also plan to build a permanent research station, kitchen, and guardhouse. The community requested these facilities during a public consultation when designating the protected areas.

Project Updates

June 2011

All planting was finished in December 2010. SEED Madagascar volunteers planted approximately 500 palms, and the Azafady Pioneer October 2010 program planted just over 3,000. Project coordinator Brett Massoud visited in February, and was pleased to see that the majority of plants looked well established with plenty of new growth. A few (fewer than 10), planted in full sun, had died; however, Brett did not see any loss of palms planted in the forest or on the forest edge. His visit was cut short when Cyclone Bingiza struck the area. Reports from Sainte Luce were that significant large tree falls may have caused damage.

Weather made it impossible to complete the kitchen and bathroom in February. The designs were agreed upon, however, and local people delivered stones to the site. The guard house is now complete, has been painted with insect-proof paint, and furnished with a bed and table, as well as solar lighting. A temporary sitting house under a small canvas is being used while a solution is sought to the destruction of the sitting house by bad weather last September.

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June 2010

Field representative Erik Patel reports that community members have held numerous meetings and have bought most of the building materials and moved them to the construction site. Construction has been completed on the Research Station Sitting House (which has been named the “Seacology House”) and the guard house. Approximately 500 seedlings of rare palms (Dypsis saintelucei) have been transplanted.

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Full or partial funding for this project provided by Seacology Germany.